Thursday 10 July 2014

Fluenta 8 Jul - Trickle sailing and camping out plus a bit of maintenance.


Today was one of those kid-focused days at anchor that you hope you will have lots of when you sell your house and go cruising :)

After a cockpit breakfast of Dad's biscuits and pamplemousse (we experimented with corn flour instead of some of the wheat flour, but the dough was sticky and the biscuits, although tasty, were quite crumbly), Max and the kids were out with Trickle by 1030. He had offered to let them sail with him watching from the cockpit, thinking that they would appreciate the freedom of movement and the lack of outboard noise, but it turned out that they were both more comfortable with Dad/coach a bit closer ("I just want to be able to talk to you Dad") so Max and both kids went out together. By the time they came back for lunch, all the six kids in the anchorage had had a turn; some went with Victoria, some with Johnathan, and one small boy went with Max. Johnathan drove the dinghy (which he loves to do) for all the turns but his own. It was windier today (10-12 kts), so there were some near capsizes to keep them humble, but everyone came back with a smile of their face.

Lunch was all the leftovers in my fridge (quinoa, rice, and various veg) fried with soya sauce and sesame oil (with Pam's secret ingredient of chile flakes to give it a bit of a kick). This turned out to be popular, but not as popular as the left over biscuits from breakfast!

In the afternoon, we were visited briefly by a family [SV Galatic, authors of "South from Alaska") who has been cruising since their 8 yr old was a baby, just to see if we had any questions. I found out a few things, like she used to drag her diapers behind their boat, and they used boric acid successfully to rid their boat of bugs. They are heading to Fakarava tomorrow, so they wanted to be sure of connecting before we left. It is nice to be part of this community; it is a regular topic of conversation that cruisers seem to look after each other and form bonds in a way that we haven't seen in our "regular" lives in a couple of generations. We feel blessed to be in this place with these people.

In the late afternoon, Max took the kids out again in the dinghy, this time towing them on their boogie board [we call it "shark-baiting] around the anchorage. There were big smiles all around on their return (and a gas tank that needed filling ... this is a good way to turn gas into noise!) We finished the day on the beach; I had thought about staying on the boat (after all it was late and I had diapers to wash), but when I saw all the other dinghies lined up on the beach, I changed my mind :) The plan was to go ashore for an hour, then return to the boat at 5pm in advance of the 5:15 sunset, so Max could do the round trip before the lack of sunlight made the trip through the coral dangerous, but thankfully, I got a ride at the end of the evening instead.

The beach was a hive of activity - grownups visiting, kids erecting tents and shelters, wood being gathered (have you ever seen a bare-footed eight-year-old with a machete in his hands trying to chop down a branch above his head for firewood?? This was my son this afternoon; I was grateful when one of the dads (also barefoot, but more experienced with the machete) joined him in the search!) Max is again sleeping in our Mexican hammock, Victoria has erected our baby hammock under a tarp, and Johnathan has elected to sleep on the ground.

As we were heading to the dinghy, we heard a rustling in the trees (louder than the little rats that we had been watching since dusk), and upon investigation we found our first "coconut crab". These are creatures that have to be seen to be believed. About the size of a lobster, but a blue/purple colour, had front claws strong enough to open the coconut that it was eating, and it waved all its arms to scare away the person brave enough to try to pick it up by hand. Oh, and it can climb trees, which it did as we disturbed its peace! I understand that they are a delicacy that people will spend hours hunting, and then cook whole over the fire, but that will have to be an experience for another day!

When I came back to the boat just after 7pm (two hours after dark) the moonlight overhead, shining on (through) the clear water, highlighted the coral even better than in the daytime. It almost seemed like we were floating on air as we drove out through the black and white coral field. Even my colour-blind chauffeur could see clearly where to go. As with two nights ago, I have had a peaceful evening in my own company - I finished washing my diapers, hung them to dry (saving the kids a hated job), washed dishes and swept the saloon, and even did my first yoga practice since Mexico (Eoin Finn's Weekend Lovingkindness practice ... I tried focusing my 'conflict' lovingkindness towards the bugs on my boat, but I must say that I will still kill any that I see!) It is amazing what can be done with a baby sleeping on a bunk instead of on one's back! All the while I was listening to more of my favourite authors and uplifting music.

Well, cruisers' midnight was several hours ago, and it is even past regular midnight, so I think I will sign off and wish you a good morning :) The wind is supposed to shift tomorrow overnight, so we will likely head back across the atoll anchor by the pass after the campers return.

[Maintenance update: too much fun with little boats and camping to get much done but have done the first and easy part of the vang repair. I have epoxied in the stripped hole into the boom. Tomorrow I will tap and drill in a new hole. After approx 9000 nn and two years in Fluenta we have noted areas where little improvements would back life easier. One was some cockpit lighting other than headtorches and our solar light. The kids and I added a small red LED light that just barely {to preserve night vision on passage}lights up the winches and rope clutches required for reefing the mainsail in-boom furler. We also added the prototype white light rope light with dimmer for dining in the cockpit. It is not quite right yet but should work nicely with on the second version. Next the galley is going to get some additional white lighting. We also added some more flashlight holders so that a flashlight would be on hand when you likely need it. Finally, we replaced the thick three strand line we use to restrain the anchor when on passage {so that the anchor windlass does not have to take any of the load} with a thin line of Amsteel Grey. This will be easier to thread into the shank of the anchor and will not stretch so that the anchor is held in tight when combined with a trucker's hitch. I did the eye splice but Victoria did the locking stitches and a beautiful job on her first palm and needle whipping. Max]

Much love,
At 7/4/2014 8:49 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 16°58.00'S 144°35.00'W
At 7/4/2014 8:49 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 16°58.00'S 144°35.00'W

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